Florida Probate with No Will

Two Major Misconceptions

  1. There is a common misconception that if you have a Last Will and Testament, then you don't have to go through probate for the estate.
  2. There is also a misconception that if there is no Will, then you cannot probate an estate.

Both of these misconceptions are false. Probate is NOT determined by whether or not a Last Will and Testament exists.

During case analysis, we look to the assets of the estate and how they are titled or held. If the assets are "stuck" in the name of the decedent, then 9 times out of 10, probate is required to release the assets and transfer them on to the heirs of the estate.

How do you Probate an Estate Without a Will?

When a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, they are deemed to have died "intestate". In many respects, the probate process is similar with or without a Will. However, one must make a critical analysis of who the rightful heirs will be pursuant to state law regarding intestate succession.

When there is no Will, you must consider ALL heirs of the decedent, including those who died before the decedent. This can get complicated in large families. Even small families may face problems if the decedent was survived by multiple generations of heirs.

Florida Statute 732.103 lays out which heirs are entitled to inherit (other than the spouse):

732.103 Share of other heirs.

—The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under s. 732.102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
(1) To the descendants of the decedent.
(2) If there is no descendant, to the decedent’s father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(3) If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent’s brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters.
(4) If there is none of the foregoing, the estate shall be divided, one-half of which shall go to the decedent’s paternal, and the other half to the decedent’s maternal, kindred in the following order:
(a) To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(b) If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
(c) If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above.
(5) If there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.
(6) If none of the foregoing, and if any of the descendants of the decedent’s great-grandparents were Holocaust victims as defined in s. 626.9543(3)(a), including such victims in countries cooperating with the discriminatory policies of Nazi Germany, then to the descendants of the great-grandparents. The court shall allow any such descendant to meet a reasonable, not unduly restrictive, standard of proof to substantiate his or her lineage. This subsection only applies to escheated property and shall cease to be effective for proceedings filed after December 31, 2004.

As you can see, if one or more of the decedent's heirs have already died, you may encounter a bit of a wormhole trying to pin down all of the rightful surviving heirs.

That said, we frequently handle Florida probate administration for intestate estates and most of them move forward without complication.

See also: 5 Common Myths about Florida Probate


Need reasons to contact us?

How about 800 of them?

  • We have helped over 800 clients effectively and efficiently handle their probate cases.
  • It’s a completely free, zero-obligation, 20-minute phone consultation.
  • Learn ASAP if probate is really necessary.
  • We try to give everyone a workable solution for their specific case (including solutions that don’t require an attorney).
  • Fill out the form and you automatically get a free copy of our probate ebook (see more below).

Send us an email (We'll respond!)

Free for 20 minutes.
Learn if you need probate.

    By submitting this message, I understand that I will not be charged for response via email or phone to my message and I am not forming an attorney client relationship.

    Please do not click the send button more than once. Allow at least 10 seconds for confirmation of your sent message.

    INSTANT DOWNLOAD: Understanding Florida Probate Law

    Florida Probate Guide
    In addition to setting up your free phone consultation, you’ll also receive a free copy to our popular ebook, “Understanding Florida Probate Law” (downloaded over 5,000 times since 2008). Inside you'll learn more about:
    • Types of probate
    • Real world probate scenarios
    • When probate makes sense
    Be sure to check your SPAM/JUNK folder to make sure you locate our email with the instant download!

    Here’s what to expect:

    • Fill out this form and you’ll receive an immediate confirmation email
    • Typically, within one (1) business day, an attorney will review your submission and prepare for a consultation
    • If a short email response will do, an attorney will reply directly to you.
    • If your case calls for a full consultation (and quote), an attorney will reach out to you.
    • If you aren’t available to talk, we will happily reschedule!
    • After your consultation, the attorney will issue you a quote!
    • We offer Flat Fees on all uncontested matters!

    Florida Probate Attorney Long H. DuongAvvo Rated Five Stars - Clients Choice
    Hear a brief welcome clip from Long.